Movie review: Hot Young Bloods (PG13)

Movie review: Hot Young Bloods (PG13)
Hot Young Bloods starring Lee Jong Suk (right).

HOT YOUNG BLOODS (PG13) / 121 minutes / Opens On Thursday

The lead actors shine in this nostalgic tale of teen romance set in the countryside of 1980s South Korea.

High school student Young Sook (Park Bo Young) has a crush on her childhood friend Joong Gil (Lee Jong Suk), who grows up to be the school's heartthrob.

It is a complex love web and the stars are not in Young Sook's favour. Joong Gil's eyes are set on the new girl in town. He also fears the wrath of the neighbouring school's bully who has the hots for Young Sook.

Actress Park, who has a track record of box-office hits, delivers once again. Witness the success in South Korea of her movies - Scandal Makers (2008) drew in more than 8 million viewers and A Werewolf Boy (2012) was watched by more than 6 million.

The fresh-faced Park shows finesse in balancing the different sides of her role - fiesty student gang leader and vulnerable lovelorn lass with a soft spot for Joong Gi.

But what really surprises is model-turned-actor Lee's delightful portrayal of the cowardly playboy.

It is refreshing to see him pull off a wacky character, having seen him in brooding roles. He was an aloof competitive swimmer in movie No Breathing (2013) and a mind-reader with a mission to protect his benefactor in popular drama I Hear Your Voice (2013).

Immersing himself in the skirt-chaser role here, Lee hams it up for the camera, charming girls with his magic touch, complete with cheesy compliments One line in the movie goes: "You've got the whitest elbow I've ever seen."

The film's plot is a run-of-the-mill love story that starts off breezy, but ends up a tad too draggy, with melodramatic complications towards the end.

It is the leading actors that bring this boy-meets-girl story alive.

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